noun, plural spin·neys. British.

a small wood or thicket.

Origin of spinney

1300–50; Middle English < Middle French espinei (masculine), espinaie (feminine) a place full of thorns, derivative of espine spine; compare Late Latin spīnētum difficulty, equivalent to Latin spīn(a) thorn (see spine) + -ētum noun suffix (see arboretum)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spinney

Historical Examples of spinney

  • Do you remember long ago at the gate over there leading to Drake's Spinney?


    Henry Seton Merriman

  • As I got to that spinney at the edge of the quarry, I saw Mallalieu and our clerk.

    The Borough Treasurer

    Joseph Smith Fletcher

  • So he found her when he came round the corner of the spinney.

    Anna the Adventuress

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • The spinney is cut down to the stumps—even the lilacs and the syringas, to the stumps.

  • So farewell, spinney; I have promised myself that I will never enter it again.

British Dictionary definitions for spinney



mainly British a small wood or copse

Word Origin for spinney

C16: from Old French espinei, from espine thorn, from Latin spīna
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for spinney

1590s, from Old French espinei (Modern French épinaie) "place full of thorns and brambles," from espine (see spine).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper